I have always been intimidated by free motion quilting, until now.
My first attempts were awful: jumpy, inconsistent stitches, tension problems, stitches where I didn’t want them, etc. I was determined to improve this year.
I have been working on six baby quilts for the local guild to donate to NICU babies. Pictures as soon as I finish the binding. I’ve free-motioned them, in a large meander, as they don’t like a lot of stitching on them. I can definitely see improvements in these six quilts.
I have Patsy Thompson’s fabulous DVDs, and replayed Volume 0.5 again the other day too. This time I paid very close attention to the placement of her hands, stitch length and how she was moving the fabric. It helped a lot.
This weekend, despite my “don’t start anything new” rule, I cut up six gorgeous fat quarter batiks to make six Friendship Bags. If you decide to do this too, be warned, I had JUST enough fabric with the FQs. Only one little 2″ x 8.5″ strip and a few scraps left over.
I first cut out the lining pieces (15″x8.5″) and the two handles, 10″ x 2 1/4″. I cut the rest of the fabric into various strips ranging from 1″ to 3″ x 8.5″. In hindsight, I should have made them 9″ to give me more room to trim after, but then I probably wouldn’t have had enough fabric to get the length required. These measurements are coming from Rachel’s Friendship Bag Tutorial.
I stripped the pieces horizontally to make one long piece ~15″x8.5″, then spray-basted on batting. Then it was time to play with the quilting. I’m using a gorgeous variegated thread (Coats, I believe) with Bottom Line in the bobbin.
I’ve finished the free motion quilting on one piece already. Is it perfect? No! But I love it, and it was so much fun! I opted to quilt each strip in a different pattern. I wanted to try circles, bubbles actually, but my samples looked awful. I think I’ll hold off on those until I get more experience and confidence.
The back. Because the Friendship Bags will be lined, the quilting is done without a back fabric, just the batting.